What's next for Anthony Joshua?
Three examples to inspire the British boxer


Unless you have been living under the rock for the past week, you will be aware of the monumental shock that occurred at Madison Square Garden as Anthony Joshua was knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr for the world heavyweight championship. The Mexican fighter was priced at a massive 33/1 to win the fight, which if you’re not a betting fan effectively means that he had no chance of winning. However, he did, and Joshua’s future is now cloudy with limited options available to him.

He isn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last boxer to fall to an embarrassing result, and the best stories in the sport are made when the fighter has their backs to the wall. But, who could Joshua look to as possible examples of bouncing back?

George Foreman vs Muhammad Ali - 1974

As opposed to being on the wrong side of bad results; Mohammad Ali upset the bookmakers on two separate occasions by winning fights that he wasn’t expected to. That statement in itself is a strange thing to say since Ali is one of the best fighters of all time, but he wasn’t always the superstar.

The first of which was his first heavyweight title challenge against Sonny Liston. Ali was expected to lose to the seemingly invincible Liston, and matters weren’t made any easier when Ali was visually impaired after the fourth round due to an unknown substance. However, he recovered well, and Liston couldn’t deal with him, and the legend was born.

The second example was his bout in the immortal clash of the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman. Ali’s odds of winning the fight were the same as the Atlanta Falcons of being NFL Superbowl favourites. Foreman had comprehensively beaten the two men in Joe Frazier and Ken Norton who had beaten Ali.

However, the night was made famous for the brains of Ali overpowering the brawn of Foreman. Ali invited the champion to attack him by resting of the ropes and tiring him out. Therefore, once all the gas was out of the tank; Ali took his chance and sent Foreman crashing to the mat in the eighth round. Consequently, he reclaimed the world title for the first time in seven years.

Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas - 1990

Perhaps one of the most feared heavyweights to ever step foot in the ring is one of the biggest names to have suffered an embarrassing defeat and the only one that can be placed at the same level as Joshua’s overthrow. However, unlike AJ, Tyson’s preparation for the fight was far from ideal. The lead up to the fight consisted of a divorce from his wife, separation from his trainer and training at half of the effort that he had previously.

That being said, he was still the 1/42 favourite to beat Buster Douglas in Japan. Douglas had other plans and despite being knocked down by Tyson in the eighth, before then delivering a dangerous combination of his own in the tenth to send the previously unfloored heavyweight champion crashing to the floor.

The referee counted Tyson out, and it was an impressive win for Douglas. Tyson didn’t lose gracefully, and the aftermath of the fight mostly consisted of the American’s camp claiming that the official counted too slowly during the eighth round. Tyson recovered from that defeat emphatically with two quick knockout victories over Henry Tillman and Alex Stewart.

Lennox Lewis vs McCall - 1997

Another heavyweight from that same glorious era of talent was Lennox Lewis, but like Tyson, he also had to overcome a shock defeat. This time it was even more embarrassing as Lewis lost in his hometown against Oliver McCall. The challenger, McCall landed a mighty right hand in the second round and sent Lewis to the canvas. The referee counted to six, but the fight was called off after Lewis fell into the referee. Lewis’ camp stated that the champion should have been given the benefit of the doubt and been able to continue, but it was widely agreed that the official did the right thing.

However, he rectified this defeat in the rematch a couple of years later when he won in one of the strangest boxing events to ever take place. Lewis was winning on the scorecards after the first four rounds, and then McCall refused to participate any further as he walked around the ring with his back to Lewis and crying. The official called the fight off and awarded the win to Lewis. There was little doubt about Lewis’ legacy when he eventually retired as he had beaten all the best heavyweights around at the time; including Tyson, Vitali Klitschko, Evander Holyfield and Frank Bruno.